GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s Year Four of Will Muschamp at Florida. It’s Year Four of Jeff Driskel, too.
As losses and criticism have mounted it’s looking like the coach and his quarterback are tied to each other and will sink or swim together.
“We’ll continue to move forward this season and he'll make the Gator Nation proud he's their quarterback,” Muschamp said on Monday. “I know that the majority are. That's the frustrating part, that you've got to listen to the negativity of the small few. But that's part of it."
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said recently that he is standing by Muschamp. Despite the angry fans who take to social media to call for the coach’s head on a platter, Foley said he’ll look at the entire season before making any evaluation.
“I appreciate that,” Muschamp said. “I’m really concerned with what happens in the building. Those are the things that concern me the most -- our football team and what we need to do to continue to improve.”
Foley is sticking with Muschamp, who is sticking with Driskel.
“Right now Jeff gives us the best opportunity to win,” Muschamp has said repeatedly.
His other option is true freshman Treon Harris, a teenager who arrived on campus in late June and has thrown all of two fourth-quarter passes in his only career game, a blowout win against Eastern Michigan.
Muschamp clearly had enough confidence in Harris to elevate him to the No. 2 quarterback job over fellow true freshman Will Grier, who enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, as well as third-year sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg, who made three starts last season.
But for now, Harris is more of a developmental player than a factor in Florida’s game plan.
“Treon continues to improve,” Muschamp said. “He's going to be a really good football player. I've got all the confidence in the world in him and his abilities and what he presents to our football team.
“When that opportunity presents itself, he'll have an opportunity."
It likely won’t come on Saturday at Tennessee, a game thought to be pivotal in determining the coach’s future at Florida.
Muschamp said Driskel took most of the first-team reps during Florida's bye week and would do so again this week. He isn't thinking about playing two quarterbacks against Tennessee.
"Not at this time," he said, adding that Harris has a package of plays but is not scripted to play.
"We go into every game considering some situational things, especially the red zone, to put him in the game. If that opportunity presents itself -- in the Kentucky game and the Alabama game it never did -- we would do that."
Muschamp is careful to point out that Driskel isn’t a lock to keep his job if his struggles continue.
The junior QB completed just 32 percent of his passes for 93 yards with two interceptions in Florida’s 42-21 loss at Alabama.
Clearly there is patience with Driskel, but it’s not unlimited.
Muschamp’s offensive coordinator, Kurt Roper, has plenty of experience using two quarterbacks in tandem, most recently at Duke last season.
Muschamp was asked on Monday if he subscribes to the old coaching adage that if you’re playing two quarterbacks you really don’t have one. In other words, could he see Florida using Driskel and Harris in future game plans?
"We're going to do what it takes to win,” he said. “If that presents itself, that's what we'll do."
It might be what it takes for Muschamp to reach Year Five.